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Volleyball avenges 2013 loss, beats Luther in five

Volleyball avenges 2013 loss, beats Luther in five

INDIANOLA, Iowa - A deep Simpson volleyball team avoided a second-straight collapse against Luther in an exciting, 3-2 win on Tuesday night.

Tabitha Blaser had 13 kills, Torey Buenger had 12 including three in the deciding fifth set and Simpson held off Luther 26-24, 25-18, 23-25, 21-25, 16-14 at Cowles Fieldhouse.

The last time the two teams met, in 2013, the Storm (6-6, 1-1 Iowa Conference) cruised to wins in the first two sets before dropping the next three.

"That match haunted us all year," head coach Lana Smith said. "We felt comfortable in the first two sets [tonight], but we knew we shouldn't be comfortable."

This time around, it looked as though the script would play out the same way.

A pair of errors in the serving game helped Luther to an 11-9 lead in the fifth set, but Buenger stopped the bleeding with a kill. She then held serve for three straight points and a 13-11 Simpson lead.

With the match tied 14-all, a kill by Blaser put Simpson ahead before MacKenzie McGraw put the finishing touches on the win.

"I think we have some more depth at positions this year," Smith said. "A few people play in spots here and there, so we can capitalize on strengths."

Buenger hit a team-high .346, had a pair of aces and finished with four blocks. Elisa Wildy added 10 kills, Katie Kieffer handed out 42 assists and Kayla Aronow led the way with 25 digs.

McKinzy Lohberger finished with 22 kills and Lindsey Ryan had 51 assists for the Norse (9-6, 1-1), who saw a three-match winning streak come to an end.

"This is a big win and a big confidence booster for us," Smith said.

Simpson returns to action this weekend when it competes in the second-annual IIAC-NAAC Crossover in Milwaukee, Wis.

Notes

With her 13 kills, Tabitha Blaser moved past the 800 mark for her career ... the junior now has 804 ... Simpson hadn't won against Luther in Indianola since 2008.